NEW DELHI: Around 93 per cent polling was recorded in the vice presidential
on Saturday, with more than 50
not exercising their franchise.
Officials said of the total 780 MPs, as many as 725 MPs voted till 5 pm when the polling concluded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh cast their ballots early in the day, while opposition leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi voted a little after noon, the officials said.
The Trinamool Congress, which has 39 MPs, including 23 in Lok Sabha, has already announced its decision to abstain from the election. However, two of its MPs -- Sisir Kumar Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari -- broke ranks and cast their ballots.
Polling to elect the next
of India began at 10 am on Saturday, with PM Modi being among the first ones to vote.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair and needed support to stand up and vote. CPM MP John Brittas was among those who helped the veteran leader in exercising his franchise. The two-term former prime minister greeted those present with folded hands.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president J P Nadda, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and Commerce Minister and Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal were among the leaders who turned up early at the Parliament House.
Congress MP Abhishek Singhvi, who has contracted Covid-19, voted wearing a PPE kit.
"Satisfied that I could perform my duties as a third term parliamentarian in the #VP elections, even if in extraterrestrial attire!" he tweeted.
While two BJP MPs -- Sunny Deol and Sanjay Dhotre -- did not vote, among the prominent opposition MPs who were absent during voting included Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shafiqur Rahman Barq (both Samajwadi Party).
With the ruling BJP having an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha and 91 members in the Rajya Sabha, Dhankhar has a clear edge over his rival. He is likely to succeed incumbent M Venkaiah Naidu, whose tenure ends on August 10.
All MPs of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including nominated members, are entitled to vote in the vice presidential election.
The two Houses of Parliament together have a sanctioned strength of 788 MPs, of which there are eight vacancies in the Upper House.